Fraudulent Online Locksmiths – Beware!
It’s an unfortunate side of our business, but 24 HR Lockouts wants you to beware of fake online locksmiths, who may be out to pick your pocket rather than your lock. The odds are significant that when you search Google for someone to get you back into your home, car, or business, the search results will include poorly trained, or completely untrained, subcontractors who will try to take advantage of your difficult, sometimes emergency, situation.
Fake Online Locksmiths
Perhaps this has happened to you. You are locked out of your car, home, or office, and you pull out your smartphone and type “locksmith” into Google. You will have a plethora of names to review, and many times the most professional sounding locksmith sites are in the paid ad space at the top of results page, this being space reserved for local service companies.
You may assume that the search engine’s algorithm has instantly sifted through the possibilities and presented those that are near you and that have earned good customer reviews. Some listings will certainly fit that description. But odds are good that your results include locksmiths that are not locksmiths at all.
They are call centers — often out of state, sometimes in a different country — that use a high-tech ruse to trick Google into presenting them as physical stores in your neighborhood. These operations, known as lead generators, or lead gens for short, keep a group of poorly trained subcontractors on call. After your details are forwarded, usually via text, one of those subcontractors jumps in a car and heads to your vehicle or home. That is when the trouble starts.
The goal of lead generation is to separate you from as much money as possible according to lawsuits. The typical approach is for a phone representative to offer an estimate in the range of $35 to $90. On site, the subcontractor demands three or four times that sum, often claiming that the work was more complicated than expected. Most consumers simply blanch and pay up, in part because they are eager to get into their homes or cars.
We know of one customer who recalled an evening in January. It was very cold, and she called an emergency locksmith that she found on Google. According to the search result, that locksmith was the closest to her home. “This guy shows up and says he needs to drill my door lock, which will cost $350, about seven times the estimate I’d been given on the phone. And he demanded cash.”
That phone number she called is now disconnected.
It is a classic bait-and-switch. And it has quietly become an epidemic in America, among the fastest-growing sources of consumer complaints, according to the Consumer Federation of America.
Don’t fall prey to one of these shiesters. Bookmark the 24 HR Lockouts site and be certain that when you call us, the locksmith who responds will be professionally trained in our proprietary methods and be current in all required education and licenses.